In a sense, season two of Profiler was hobbled by the need to reboot and if possible make the Jack story line more compelling. The result is that rather than Season 2, this season often felt more like season 1.5. Profiler has from the first episode struggled with two fundamental problems: the Jack story line and a miscast lead.
The Jack story line has never been as interesting as producers hoped. Throughout season one, it was repetitive and sluggish - we'd get lots of scenes of Jack whispering meneacingly or plotting nefariously and his whipsering and plotting rarely led to anything more interesting that more whispering and plotting. For season two, producers tried to spice up the story - they gave Jack a female apprentice (wittingly referred to as Jill) - Sharon Lesher a recenlty released prisoner. Traci Lords played the helll out of the role and the only parts of the story that were worth watching were her parts. Unfortunately, after the two parter in which Sam shot Jack, the story bogged down into - you guessed it - lots of repetitive scenes of Jack whispering menacingly and plotting nefariously. It was dreary and moved too slowly. Part of the reboot was a scene in which Sam "reprofiled" Jack with the help of her old mentor. Producers backed away from this scene and its implications too quickly.
The other problem was the miscast lead. Ally Walker possessed the necessary acting chops but in too many scenes she was weepy, sensitive, moody, and fragile. In some episodes, she was a successful and strong character. In too many, she came across as ill defined, weak and fragile. It often seemed as if the writers didn't know how to write for Ally Walker and she wasn't sure how to deliver the dialog written for her. Her character reached a nadir in a scene where she was literally sitting on her bed clutching stuffed animals and weeping. It was such scenes that undermined Sam's characterization throughout the season (another scene involved her holding Coop's body and weeping - followed by an episode in which every 60 seconds someone asked if she was okay). Rather than humanizing Sam, such scenes resulted in creating a sense that Sam was not up to her job.
Season two suffered from too many loose ends - ongoing villains (Lou Handleman, Art Behar, Sam's inlaws) too many other distracting subplots (Frances Malone, Sam's parenting skills, George's old embezzling buddies) to focus when it needed to. Too many episodes had a-stories, b-stories, c-stories, and d-stories to really fly. The cluttery nature of these episodes too often left insufficient screen time for the a-stories and forced the ongoing stories into too rapid resolutions (both the Lou Handleman and Art Behar storylines were set up for many episodes then resolved in 30 seconds). As the season neared its end, many of these ongoing stories were resolved with the result being stronger episodes. Season two also spent lots of energy on the hard headed local law enforcement. The character cropped up in almost every episode in one form or another. For a few episodes here and there it can be very effective but like any story telling device, overuse makes it less effective.
Besides the reboot of the Jack story line, a couple other promising developments were either dropped or lost. Perhaps the biggest loss was the development of the relationship between John and Bailey which promised to blossom into an interesting father/son mentor/student relationship. After some nice scenes early on, this theme largely vanished. Which, interestingly, seems to have been a broader problem.
In season two, Profiler seemed to lose track of some of its characters - Grace had some growth early on, then turned into someone who had one or two lines and then vanished again. George saw the same problem. These two were consistently confined to the VCTF hq and stayed there. The character of Marcus Peyton - brought in to replace the mysterious vanished Nathan Brubaker - was one of those high concept characters that failed to deliver. Frances Malone is another character who presented a problem. the season opened just after she shot her father, by the end she's going to college. There were some gaping holes in her development and it became obvious producers didn't know what do with her so they figured out a way to make her vanish. Erica Gimpel's Angel Brown was relegated - after the "Old Acquaintances" shows - to comforting Sam on a regular basis, delivering good performances in an otherwise utterly thankless role.
The result of so much going on with the storylines and characters was an overall loss of focus. Where season one was generaly a bit better than average, season two delivered some of the worst episodes Profiler would film.
The show finally gelled late in the season (barring the disastrously bad "Breaking Point") and let the show have a season that was on balance more good than bad but not good enough. Season three would bring major changes to the show which proved unpopular with many fans.
How could I have forgotten how much I loved this show? For several years this was at the top of my list, a series that took FBI profiling and made it work for episodic TV. Borrowing from some pretty impressive source material (like Thomas Harris' 'Red Dragon' and 'Silence of the Lambs'), Profiler brought us strong heroes and scary villains, with an impressive enough menace in its uber-bad guy, Jack of All Trades, that the relatively new medium known as the internet was humming with all things Jack.
Jack's historic obsession with our hero(ine), Samantha Waters, gave the series its jump start, as well as a great deal of its tension. (And, unfortunately, when that arc was over, a bit of the air went out of the show.)
To take care of the heavy lifting, NBC chose an actress who a few years earlier had played a similar role in the movie, 'When the Bough Breaks,' Ally Walker. In her mid-30s when the show started, the grind of a dramatic series would eventually take its toll on Walker--not to mention the son she gave birth to in the middle of the run. But while she was still engaged, she was great, creating a memorable character worth caring about.
Sam struck a chord with viewers not just because of the sensitive acting of Ally Walker, but because she could be vulnerable and strong at the same time. Of course she was pretty, but not so pretty that it seemed out of place. And that voice! Walker has one of those unforgettable Kathleen Turner-esque voices, helped along no doubt by a serious cigarette habit off screen.
But a great protagonist isn't enough to make a great series. This one had an excellent ensemble cast, led by the distinctively craggy Robert Davi whose Bailey Malone was a fantastic foil for Sam. Peter Frechette played one of the first gay regulars in an hour-long drama; his George got to chew a little scenery during the four seasons the show lasted. And there was notable testosterone on hand via the occasional appearances of A Martinez as Coop, one of Sam's tragic love interests (their relationship was actually worth watching unfold) and, of course, thanks to the oh-so-gorgeous presence of the then-unknown Julian McMahon playing my favorite character on the series, John Grant.
And then there was the show's omniscient menace, Jack of All Trades--later revealed to be portrayed by Dennis Christopher--the ingredient that gave the show its extra punch (and much of its fan base).
While it seems like the majority of Profiler fans feel the show went gradually downhill, reaching its lowest point when Walker walked and Jamie Luner's Rachel took Sam's place, I was one who kept watching. And even though I was occasionally griping, I was entertained enough to fervently wish the show would last longer than its fourth season. It didn't. But during those four seasons and 83 episodes there was enough good writing and good acting laced with thoughtful plots, well-paced suspense and realistic action that Profiler can definitely be declared a series success. Just thinking about it makes me want to see it again!
Some series mark time and change history of the TV. Profiler is one of these series! Today we have some series, as CSI, among others, that they are disciples of the Profiler style.
The proposal of the producers of Profiler was to make a series about a forensic psychologist who worked in a special unit of the FBI specialized in violent and serial crimes.
The objective was, not only show a puzzle of information, but also the human personal drama and involvement in the solution of the crimes of each one of the personages of the series.
Profiler was a drama that showed a dark side of the human being.
Which the difference and innovation that the series brought for us on the 90'?
The rhythm. The scenario. The Visual effect. The treatment given to the light.
The choice of instrumental music that had helped to give the dark and melancholic tone of the show.
The form as was shown the victim and the place of the crime.
The use of high technology of the information, the equipment used, notebooks, cellular phones, video conference, the use of pda, DNA test, among others things. Everything was new or still much unknown for most of us. Thing, never before used in this way, in a TV series.
A good script and dialogues.
The actors were handpicked, as the consecrated Robert Davi (Stargate: Atlantis), Rome Maffia (Nip/Tuck) and Erica Gimbel (Fame). Actors, still little known, at the time, as Peter Frechette and Julian Macmahon (Nip/Tuck). I can not forget to mention the two young actresses who had interpreted Cloe Walters, Caitlin Walchs (Commander in Chief) and mainly Evan Rachel Wood. Evan Rachel Wood (Once and Again), although to only have participated of 7 episodes, gave to us magnificent acting moments with Ally Walker.
However, the soul of Profiler was really the actress Ally Walker (Tell Me You Love Me)! The actress, beyond the physical beauty, brought for the Dr. Sam Walters character, delicacy, the feminine smoothness, force, firmness and independence, at the same time, vulnerability, through a magnificent interpretation. She did grow up as an actress and became big during the series period.
Everything that the producers needed to turn the series into an absolute success!
In the end of the third season, the actress Ally Walker left the show and was substituted by the actress Jamie Luner (Melrose Place), who did not maintain the high level of interpretation established by Ally. Allied to this, the quality of the choice of the subjects of each episode and the level of the dialogue decayed vertiginously, so, in the end of the fourth season, the show was canceled.
Particularly, I thought the first season, wonderful, the second and third seasons, very good, the two first episodes of the fourth season, magnificent and the remaining of the fourth season, mediocre.
Who will be good observer; will see that the production used some scenes in some episodes and that some errors of continuity exist.
If you like shows as CSI and Criminal Mind, see Profiler!
If you like a good drama, a good inquiry and mainly you like a good "thinker" show, see Profiler!
Profiler is in my list of best shows of all the times!
One of the best shows ever to air back when the networks still did original Saturday programming! It was Ally Walker's vehicle, however, and should have hung up its hat when she left the show (the only thing that kept me from giving it a perfect 10!)
If you get the chance, catch this great show (and I agree with other posters, CSI owes a debt of gratitude to it!) on the Sleuth Network every weekday at 5:00 P.M. Eastern. If you've never seen the show, I guarantee you will get hooked! And, if you're like me and watched every episode when it originally aired (I was in my mid 20s then, wow!), watch it again as you catch SO much more the second time around that you might not have caught the first time. Superbly written and acted! You will not be disappointed!
i really enjoy[ed] this show in the first 2 season, but after that the show just went to pot. I don't like any of those shows like, CSI, Without A Trace, ect, but this one was different, at the beginning that is. Being a fan of scripted shows, I need a continuing storyline in the program, and the reason I enjoyed the show so much was Jack. With Jack Of All Trades, it is nice to have a plot-point for each episode. The problem I have with CSI, L&O and all those, is that I miss an episode, so what right? Well, than why should i even come back next week.
Once Jack got caught the show just turned into the same old same old Cop show, and I said goodbye.
When an unusual series of killings occurs in Atlanta, the local police call the FBI. They, in turn, call in Samantha "Sam" Waters, a brilliant and reclusive former FBI agent, now retired and living in near-isolation with her daughter and close friend. Sam’s unique talents - and the reason she’s been hiding out in rural Georgia - are at the heart of this moody series. In the style of The Silence of the Lambs, its part detective show, part mystery, part suspense thriller.
Sam was the best forensic psychologist the FBI ever had; she saw the subtle clues that made the difference between solving a case and not. But Sam left the Bureau after being caught in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a brilliant serial killer nicknamed Jack (for Jack-of-all-trades), who ultimately murdered Sam’s husband. Jack stopped killing for awhile, but now he’s back. And so is Sam, but on her own terms: she'll work only with her former colleague Bailey Malone. And only as long as the Bureau helps maintain her anonymity. She knows Jack wants to find her - she just has no idea how close he already is.
Profiler will follow Sam as she rebuilds her career, unraveling high profile crimes, and keeping one step ahead of Jack. At least, until she can find him and stop him for good.
This show was way ahead of time and lead the way for some of todays popular crime schows such as Medium, CSI and Crossing Jordan.
The style and influence of "Profiler" can be seen today in "CSI" and its many incarnations, "Without a Trace," and especially "Criminal Minds." Unfortunately, "Profiler" is barely remembered, which is due to lurid, melodramatic scripts and one of the weakest leading ladies in television.
In retrospect, it's disappointing that Ally Walker damaged the show, because she was surrounded by a top-notch ensemble cast. Roma Maffia ("Nip/Tuck"), Peter Frechette ("Inside Man"), Julian McMahon ("Fantastic Four," "Nip/Tuck") and the incomporable Robert Davi ("Die Hard," "Licence to Kill") provided great backup, and with a more capable star, "Profiler" would have had a longer life.
Ally Walker...where to begin? Her airheaded affect, with...pauses...every so...often? Her expressions, which were all variations of quizzical and confused. Her character was supposed to be troubled by her visions of crime scenes, but Walker comes off as aloof.
And Sam's "gift?" Unlike the profilers of "Criminal Minds," Sam Waters' insight comes out of psychic territory. WHOOSH - a flash of a military procession and a gun salute...the killer was in the military! Hot dog! If you want to have a psychic detective show, do it, but don't masquerade the art of forensic science and profiling as hocus pocus.
This was a show that was decent Saturday night entertainment, but nothing more. Its technical innovations and camera work were overshadowed by a dreadful lead performance and left a lot of good actors out in the cold. I'd take "Millennium" or "Criminal Minds" over "Profiler" any day of the week.
Loved it when it was on. Watched reruns on Courttv. Just got season 3 dvds. Last dvd (6) has a pic of Marcus Peyton character. He left at end of season two. Did A&E and NBC not notice this when they released the DVD, huh. Loved Sam and John characters best. Inner struggle was great with these characters. ist series when a character was in the credits Jack. Did Dennis Christopher even have a career after this show. Profiler was riviting, made you think a lot. had a very good cast. The guest stars were always very different from the roles they were know for like Bruce Wietz from Hill street Blues.
When Profiler first got aired it felt fresh - its fast pace and neat cuts fitted well for the needs of the new MTV generation. In many ways Profiler made room for all those psychic thrillers that followed and series like "C.S.I.". The characters were well written and their separate story lines and personalities all had something to offer. The mystery surrounding Jack's identity kept people hooked. The writes really managed to make Jack appear dangerous - you never knew what he'd do next. The probliem of this show was the change of the starring role. Whether better or not, this usaully alienates the veiwer. I beleive the show should had end with the fate of Samantha and Jack. This would of been dark and defferent then anything on TV.
Sam Waters is a forensic psychologist for the FBI, with a stalker all her own, Jack of all trades. He has already killed her husband. Now Sam, her daughter, and her best friend have to live in seclusion so Jack ca not kill them too.
Each week there would be a crime to solve as well as a disturbing message from Jack.
I think that this show paved the way for a lot of the forensic shows that are on today.
I was really upset when Ally Walker left, I think she is a wonderful actress, and played the part of Sam very well.
This show, though I watched every episode of it and was sometimes entertained, however it is a show that makes me very very angry !
There is no passion involved from the writing staff. The kept flipping back and forth between standalones (pretty boring) and serialized stuff. Acting was pretty weak, though there were moments of shining. Then midway through the show the producers left and some new folk came in and through the show further into nonsense crazy world. And I mean it, the show didnt actually make complete sense by its end.
Sometimes cast members would disappear from the show, then reappear, then be different characters...it was all careless film making
The folk should've considered structure, ultimate plan throughout the seasons, and just made the show a bit more realistic, it was painful to watch sometimes.
I was hooked as soon as I watched the first season of Profiler and that's as far as I got even though there have been 3 seasons after it. I found Ally Walker very appealing as the profiler that used her 'powers' to help the department catch the murderers. As far as I can remember there was a re-occuring character from her past that his storyline ran parallel with most of the episodes and gave Ally huge 'headaches'. It was a very entertaining show that perhaps was a trendsetter for the many cop shows that have since followed it. There are DVD box sets out at the moment and am trying to get hold of them. A small deterent perhaps is the fact that after season 2 the leading character (Ally) was removed that lead to the series going downhill...
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